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Chelsea 3-0 Rennes, Champions League: Tactical Analysis

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Breaking down Chelsea’s third win and fifth clean sheet in a row

First half

Chelsea pressed high and aggressively from the start of the match, both on Rennes short building and pushing up from defending deep inside their own half to force Rennes back to their goalkeeper.

Rennes looked to move forward as a team with possession, and required the dribbling qualities of Gboho to hold on to the ball higher up as an outlet, while the team looked to maintain possession long enough for Chelsea’s pressing to drop off.

In the final third, Rennes looked to advance on the wings, with fullbacks and wingers making early crosses into the box. Their most dangerous moments in the first half came from winning free kicks and corners, but otherwise the aggression from Chelsea’s backline on passes into Rennes’ frontline recovered the ball or forced Rennes to play backwards into their own half.

With the ball, Chelsea created from the wings. They played switches with good timing out to the fullbacks overlapping in space (to then cross into the box), or found the wingers on the inside, who could then play passes behind for the fullbacks, or early into the box, or dribble with the ball against defenders.

The decisive moments of the half and the game came in the winning of the two penalties. The red card for Dalbert on top of both penalties being converted by Werner gave Chelsea complete control of the game going into the second half.

Second half

The second half was a simple task for Chelsea, to maintain control of the game up two goals and with a man advantage as well.

Chelsea held the ball well and continued to look to create from the wings, taking advantage of Abraham’s presence and quality in the air (especially against teams that sit deep), with Werner attacking the box at the far side as well. Abraham constantly threatened to get on the end of crosses, before one from James found him to finish first time and extend Chelsea’s lead to three.

Chelsea had opportunities to extend their lead as the half went on, but the advantage was already more than enough to see the game out. Most importantly, with the result already in their hands, they maintained their focus at the back to keep Rennes out and add another clean sheet to their current run.

Conclusion

Chelsea’s defence continues to remain strong and adding to the streak of clean sheets at the back. The decisive moments in the game came in the first half from the awarding and scoring of both penalties, along with the red card for Dalbert taking the game away from Rennes before halftime. Abraham extended Chelsea’s lead to three early on in the second half, but the game was already over as a contest before the end of the first half.